Wings and Brew: Vendors bring both to the table at Swiftel’s annual festival

Sauce covered the contestants’ faces as they stuffed their mouths with two pounds of wings for the 2016 Wing and Brew Festival Wing Eating Contest.

Brookings and surrounding community members tasted cold brews and hot wings on Aug. 27 at the Wing and Brew Festival. The event was held at the Swiftel Center from 12 to 8 p.m. and brought beer and wing vendors from local South Dakota and Minnesota towns.

Though most of the attendees were from the surrounding area, some were from as far as Canada and France.

For Leslie Waterman and her husband, this was their third or fourth year attending the festival. They traveled from Watertown.

Waterman said it was a good opportunity to visit their daughter who is a freshman at South Dakota State. But they also came for the beer.

“We’re big local brewery fans,” Waterman said. “There’s a couple in Watertown and in Marshall, Minnesota.”

The wing vendors competed for awards, including the people’s choice. Waterman had no doubt which was her favorite.

“The creamy garlic kicked butt,” Waterman said. “And the salted caramel from Buffalo Wild Wings, too. Sounds gross, but I don’t like something too spicy.”

Though the Watermans came for the beer, Will Riggins, from Volga, said he enjoyed the variety in wing flavors.

“My favorite part was being able to try flavors that were bizarre to me without having to spend money on a full order of wings that I may not have liked,” Riggins said.

Wing flavors ranged from Dr. Pepper to Not Your Father’s Root Beer to classic hot wings.

Watertown Brewing Co. won the award for mild wings, The Ridge won best BBQ wings, Watertown Brewing Co. won best hot wings and The Ridge received people’s choice.

The favorites from each wing vendor were Not Your Father’s Root Beer from Whiskey Creek, salted caramel BBQ from Buffalo Wild Wings, creamy garlic from The Cardinal Tap, Beer BBQ from Watertown Brewing Co., Raspberry Chipotle from The Ridge and Sour Cream and Onion from Cubby’s Sports Bar & Grill.

Other activities that took place at the festival included a poker run, a volleyball tournament, a bean bag tournament and a raffle. There were also bouncy houses for children, and the band Eclipse provided live music for the event.